Kildare and Wicklow ETB Newsletter Issue 11, PARTNERSHIPS - Page 16

Community groups are invited, through public advertisement, to apply for funding in April and November, a process that allows the service to draw on local knowledge to engage learners and groups and to determine the type of projects that support what is happening locally. Also, the group decides when and where the course takes place.

This partnership enables the service to engage over two thousand learners and over eighty groups annually, extending its reach to a geographic area covering two counties comprising 913,000 acres.

Giving local voluntary groups, this key responsibility is not without its challenges. The capacity of groups can differ greatly. While some have committees, others operate more informally. Working to build their capacity to be active partners in community education is fundamental. Supporting groups to develop and sustain membership through effective communication, to promote and organise activities, to deal with conflict are some aspects of the outreach work which is a key part of the service. However, documenting this work in SOLAS database systems is a major challenge.

interagency Partnerships

In addition to working with groups who come forward to partner with us we also initiate work with target groups in partnership with other agencies. The benefits of this way of working are many. An identified need may be more comprehensively addressed by pooling resources, than by each agency working individually.

It reduces duplication. The results may inspire other agencies and groups, the multiplier effects. Working with other agencies builds up informal networks that can be beneficial to KWETB in terms of increased awareness of the partner agencies, referral and future collaborations.

The challenges are that each agency has their own way of recording their work so the participants may be asked to complete multiple enrollment forms. Issues can arise regarding double counting of participants if the areas of the project that each agency is funding are not distinct. In our own case, it is the participants that are counted not the partnership which is also 'work' and achieves benefits as outlined.

wicklow Music & Health Project

Three Mental Health centres took part in this project during the spring of 2017: Kilmullen Newcastle, Portview Arklow and Lincara Bray. Three organisations worked in partnership to create the project (The Wicklow Arts Office,

"(Community Education) enables civil society to play a key role in education with local groups taking responsibility for, and playing a role in organising courses, deciding on programme content.”

Operational Guidelines for Community Education